With thousands of active Real Estate agent available to help you buy or sell a home, how do you pick? There are three main things to consider. First being how well do they know the local market, second, how effective will they be in representing you and third, do you feel like the relationship is a fit.
Yes, I know it sounds a little odd if the relationship is a fit. Being comfortable talking openly with your Real Estate agent is very important so that you can share the details that are most important to you during the home buying or home selling process.
Here are a few important questions to ask your Real Estate agent:
- How many years of experience do you have being a Realtor?
In most cases, an experienced Realtor makes a better Realtor. 5 years of experience usually indicates that this is their full-time job and not a part-time hobby. This level of experience also means that they have done more than a handful of transactions and they’re likely versed in local requirements when it comes to buying and selling property in your area. Inquire about the general property they work with most, if your property is a ranch or hobby farm you may want someone experienced with that type of property. Mirroring experience with your type of property will usually ensure they know how to price it right appropriate to the current market.
2. Are you a full-time Realtor or a Part-time Realtor?
This questions may be a little redundant to the first question, but it’s important that this is their main source of income. A Realtor that practices Real Estate as a hobby can bring great things to the table, but someone that uses this as their full source of employment usually has a lot more at stake and takes the position of representing you a little more serious.
3. Do you have any special accreditations?
In order to become a Realtor, you will need to complete the licensing requirements for the particular state that you are in. Most Realtor’s take their education very seriously and will take additional classes to receive further designations. Depending on the state, most Realtor’s will also join a local Real Estate board where they will be required to take additional course work (some now specific required classes) in order to keep their license current. In the state of Minnesota, each agent is required to complete at least 15 hours of coursework and up to 30 hours depending on the month and year they were licensed. This education covers any rule changes, agency, and fair housing just to name a few. Additional course work involves going green, inspections, radon, mold and others pertaining to specific trades, etc. An agent that spends time on education shows their seriousness for their occupation and also will be compliant when it comes to licensing and procedures.
4. Do you have a team?
Having a team has grown tremendously in popularity in the last several years. An agent part of a team may be a great fit for you, or a solo agent may be a better fit. It all depends on your communication and expectations with that agent. There’s pro’s and con’s to a team relationship so make sure to ask questions as to who will be responding to my questions. Will I work solely with an administrative person if I need something?
5. Are you a solo agent?
Again, lots of solo agents provide personal service and do an outstanding job representing clients. Just be sure that your solo agent has enough time to respond to your questions and concerns quickly, if they’re bombarded with several clients it’s possible they may not be as attentive as you would like.
6. How will you sell my house?
Regardless if you go with a team or a solo agent, asking how they plan to sell your house if very important. Most agents will have a well thought out marketing system in order to sell your home. If they don’t, you may want to consider interviewing a few other agents to get a feel for what others are offering. An agent or team actively marketing your home will ensure it’s getting the exposure you need to bring a buyer. Also, ask how they personally are going to work to find you a buyer? If they don’t have a plan, they’ll usually be waiting for another agent to come along with a buyer and sell it. An agent or team that is proactively finding buyer’s is helping you not only sell quickly but they’re also ensuring you get top dollar for your home.
7. Do you preview homes I’m interested in?
Team or solo agent this is a great question to ask when you’re searching for a new home. Looking endlessly at homes that really don’t fit what you’re looking for can seem a little like a waste of time. Asking if an agent can preview a few homes for you can eliminate that extra time. Just be careful this is a service you want. I’ve had many clients end up buying a property that didn’t necessarily fit all their criteria, so use this service at your discretion.
8. How many homes do you sell a year?
This is a great question to determine either how long an agent has been in the business, or how active they are selling homes. If you’re working with a team, it’s likely the numbers are going to be much higher in comparison to a solo agent but it’s likely because they’re taking all team members into consideration. An average agent usually sells 10-12 homes a year, with higher achieving agents selling between 15-20, and teams with up to 70 some properties a year.
9. How many homes do you sell in my area or neighborhood?
Any agent that you pick should be familiar with your neighborhood or, at least, recognizable for selling in your general area. Having local market knowledge is important for several reasons, in general, most neighborhoods have pockets of homes that are worth more or less than others. It’s important that your home is not priced too low, or you will be leaving money on the table, if it’s priced too high, it may sit on the market for an extended amount time and end up selling for less in the long run. Knowing those market ensures that you’re priced right from the beginning. Also, remember someone knowledgeable with the great things in your area will be a great asset for a relocation buyer, so they can “sell” your neighborhood features.
10. Do you have reviews or testimonials?
In a social world, it’s pretty easy to find some kind of review or testimonial from a prospective agent. Each agent should have some for you to look at if they don’t google them. See what others have to say about them so you get some real feedback on how they will likely represent you and get you to your next goal.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions specific to your needs, if you’re looking for a riverfront property, a property with a pool or a horse farm, don’t be afraid to ask questions about that type of property so you know how familiar the agent is with what you’re selling or looking to buy. As I mentioned before, find someone you’re comfortable with. This could be a team or a solo agent if you find one that seems to answer your questions with ease, is knowledgeable and personable you probably found a great fit. If you’re unsure, interview a few more, ask a friend or family member for a referral.